Design and synthesis of sensitive fluorogenic substrates specific for Lys-gingipain

Naoko Abe, Atsuyo Baba, Tomoko Kadowaki, Kuniaki Okamoto, Shinji Okazaki, Tetsuji Asao, Kenji Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Lys-gingipain (Kgp) is a major cysteine proteinase produced by the oral anaerobic bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, and has been implicated as a major pathogen in the development and progression of advanced adult periodontitis. This enzyme is believed to act as a major virulence factor of the disease, yet there exist no convenient and sensitive substrates for analyzing its biological activity. For a better understanding of the importance of this enzyme in the organism, there is an urgent need for specific substrates. Here we designed and synthesized two peptide 4-methyl-coumaryl-7-amides (MCA), carbobenzoxy (Z)-His-Glu-Lys-MCA, and Z-Glu-Lys-MCA, and tested their possible use as sensitive substrates for Kgp with limited specificity. Both substrates exhibited greater k(cat)/K(m) values than the best known Kgp substrates described so far. Both substrates were resistant to Arg-gingipain, another pathogenic cysteine proteinase from P. gingivalis, as well as trypsin and cathepsins B, L, and H. The levels of Kgp in various microorganisms and human cells were determined with Z-His-Glu-Lys-MCA. Little or no Kgp-like activity was detected in either other microorganisms or human cells tested. These results indicate that the present substrates are a valuable and fast tool for routine assays and for mechanistic studies on Kgp.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-881
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of biochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cysteine proteinase
  • Fluorogenic substrate
  • Lys-gingipain
  • Periodontitis
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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